7th February 2014
As of 6 February 2014, the decision has been taken by the CEC Management Board to suspend temporarily RE4 elastomer testing as referenced in the CEC L-39-96 test method and the ACEA sequences.
This is due to a problem that has arisen with the manufacturer who, at present, is unable to produce batches of the elastomer that are in specification. The last four production batches (October 2013, November 2013, December 2013 and January 2014) have all failed quality checks.
Quality control checks on all four CEC L-39-96 test elastomers (RE1, RE2, RE3 and RE4) are carried out by three laboratories from the CEC L-39-96 working group. The data is then approved by the Group’s chairman before any elastomer is released by the manufacturer for general testing, so no out-of-specification RE4 elastomer has been tested externally.
This approach to quality checks was decided upon by the L-39-96 working group at their last meeting in May 2013 and has been in place since October 2013. It replaced single reference oil screening at the manufacturers.
The manufacturer has been informed of the problem and has been asked to investigate fully all aspects of their manufacturing process to resolve this situation with the utmost urgency.
The normal rules in the ATC and ATIEL Codes of Practice that are applicable when a test is unavailable, will apply. Section 2.2.4 of the ATIEL Code of Practice describes the procedure where a test is declared ‘Out of Control’ or ‘Unavailable’ and the relevant part is reproduced below:
“In the event that ….CEC declares any test used in any ACEA Oil Sequences ‘out of control’ or ‘unavailable’,…..it is permitted to use, on a provisional basis only, a data set that is complete except for the data from this one test in support of performance claims against single or multiple ACEA Oil Sequences.
"The use of this temporary waiver shall be properly documented in the Candidate Data package by ticking the appropriate boxes on Form D.1 (Candidate Data Package checklist) and Form D.2 (Programme Extension Data checklist) of Appendix D and inserting the text ‘out of control ‘or ‘test unavailable’, as appropriate, in the relevant test result field in Form D.3 Parts B and C of the ACEA Performance Data Set.
"In addition, the lubricant marketer shall include data based on Fundamental Formulation Knowledge, as defined in the ATC Code of Practice6, to support the performance of the candidate formulation in the test that was not conducted.
"A lubricant marketer using the procedure described in this Section to support temporarily the claims made against ACEA Oil Sequence(s) remains responsible for product quality, as described in 1.3.”